Ambitious and luxurious in scale, this sweeping saga, spanning thousands of years between the tea estates of Sri Lanka and a distant future, heralds a new direction for South Asian theatre in Aotearoa.

From a story of two brothers trying to make sense of Sri Lanka under colonial rule, to workers’ rights on a tea plantation, to war and protest during the country’s violent uprising, to a speculative future concerned with the environment, the narrative scope of this play is truly expansive.

Matching its sophisticated rendering of grand themes and visual motifs is an opulent tableau of movement, a lavish set designed by visual artist Tiffany Singh, and an original score inspired by traditional Indian and Sri Lankan music. Also drawing on the work of Arundathi Roy and the magic realism of Salman Rushdie, Tea represents Karunaharan’s epic creative vision finally realised – at Auckland Arts Festival in 2018, a special world-premiere theatre event.

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Look at the chaos you’ve created. All I taste is the flavour
of neglect in a rimmed broken teacup.